Photo: AP

In their scramble to find a way to pay for their enormous tax cuts for the rich, Republicans have penalized the middle class, students, and sick people. This all could have been avoided with a carbon tax.

Imagine, if you will, a new tax that appeals even to Republicans. A tax that could (notwithstanding the fact that this is a bad use of its proceeds) pay for all of the fucking tax cuts on the wealthy that Republicans are now seeking, without robbing the needy. A tax that would have the added advantage of helping to save the world.

A carbon tax! It has been a good idea since the discovery that carbon emissions were destroying our world, and it remains a good idea. It is, in fact, the single most effective mechanism we could put in place to rein in the pollution that causes climate change. And lest you think this is some unworkable leftist fantasy, know that the need for a carbon tax is so obvious that its supporters include Exxon and a lot of Republicans. It is a market-based capitalist solution to the problem, for god’s sake. Everyone, it seems, can get behind it, except for Congressional Republicans.

Given the fact that those same Congressional Republicans are now mired in a dirty and immoral search for any old tax mechanism that can help them return outrageous sums of money to their billionaire patrons, this would be a staggeringly obvious time to roll out a national carbon tax. Oil companies might not like it, but lots of other Republican constituencies would love to have their own personal tax cuts paid for by everyone else in a do-gooder sort of way. The conservative economist Gregory Ip has already advocated a carbon tax as part of the current tax plan, for exactly these reasons. Likewise, Bloomberg Businessweek points out that even a modest carbon tax could pay for a huge chunk of the Republican tax plan, and wonders why nobody in Congress is taking the idea seriously.

Inequality and climate change are the two biggest issues facing the world today. We know you motherfuckers are only gonna make inequality worse. The least you could do would be to make climate change better in the process.

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(Actually the least they could do is what they’re doing right now. I apologize for my lie but I wanted a pithy ending.)